Archive for August 2009

Instruction for the Sick: A Dispensational Consideration

August 14, 2009

Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your often infirmities (I Timothy 5:23).

In this verse we find a remarkable instruction given by Paul, the Apostle, to Timothy. The dispensational light which is given by this passage on sickness is often overlooked.

Timothy, according to this Scripture, was plagued by stomach problems and “often infirmities.” These could have been easily relieved under the program of Israel’s Kingdom (i.e., the ministry of the twelve apostles) and in the early transitional ministry of Paul; but in Paul’s latter ministry, after having received the full knowledge of the mystery, he no longer had such powers (Philippians 2:24; II Timothy 4:20).

Paul’s instruction to Timothy was not:

  • That his sickness was a result of his sin, and that he needed to confess his sin to be healed.
  • That Satan had inflicted this upon him and that he must “deny it.”
  • That his faith was weak or lacking and that if he would only believe God’s promises and pray the “prayer of faith” that he would receive deliverance from his sickness.
  • That he should call for the elders of the church (he was one!) and have the anointing with oil.
  • That his healing was in the atonement and that he was to “claim it.”
  • That he should use special handkerchiefs or aprons.
  • That he should get into a “healing line.”

Paul did not give Timothy any of these instructions. Rather, he gives Timothy only one simple piece of instruction. Paul prescribed the common medicine of that day – wine.

… use a little wine …

It must be remembered that Luke, the beloved physician, was Paul’s companion. Paul’s instruction to Timothy was that medical attention was to be given to the weakness and frailty of his corruptible body. Paul gave no further hope than that which could be received through nutritional-medical resources.

Does this seem like strange advice? Does it seem somewhat “unspiritual” to you? What had happened to the ministry of Paul?

The answer is that a new order (or dispensational change) had completed its transition and was now in full operation. No longer were there the many miraculous signs, wonders and healings. Now there was a focus on that which was real and lasting: the eternal, the unseen (II Corinthians 4:18).

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:2-3).

We can learn much from Paul, our apostle (Romans 11:13). We learn from him that deliverance is not the answer to our physical infirmities.

And He said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities … (II Corinthians 12:9-10).

… for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content … I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me (Philippians 4:11, 13).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 1989 Bible Student’s Press

Due Season

August 9, 2009

… For in due season we shall reap … (Galatians 6:9).

“Due Season” – write or print it on a sheet of paper and hang it on the wall!

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

There is a season for everything! Even those who are not familiar with the Bible know this from the famous 1965 song by the Byrds, “Turn, Turn, Turn.” It was adapted from the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Indeed there is a season for everything, and there is one for reaping as well. We will reap in due season!

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Galatians 6:9).

Don’t be weary. Don’t faint. We will reap in due season.

Deer season

In Pennsylvania the first day of deer season is a very big deal. It appears to be some kind of state “holiday,” for even the schools are closed. They count down the days in great anticipation. Yet there is coming a season that is far grander than deer season – reaping season. Although you can’t mark your calendar for it – it is on the divine calendar – “in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Count on it!

“Due Season” – hang it on the wall!

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 2009 Bible Student’s Press

Suffering Is Not Permanent

August 9, 2009

One thing we know for sure: rest from our sufferings is promised.

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels (II Thessalonians 1:7).

Let us, dear brethren, not murmur and complain about the conditions of our life, but rather learn in “whatsoever state to be content,” and even more, to “… take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake.”

The trial that you now go through will not last forever. Paul calls it a “light affliction, which is but for a moment” (II Corinthians 4:17). It is all so momentary. Never forget that. Paul continues by telling us that it “works for us a far more exceeding and eternal [eonian] weight of glory.

There is an often repeated phrase found in the Bible, in which by way of application we can find great comfort: “it came to pass.” The trial that you now go through did not “come to stay” – no, indeed – “it came to pass.”

Our divinely allotted appointment of suffering is only for a while.

… After that you have suffered awhile (I Peter 5:10).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 2009 Bible Student’s Press

A Warning Concerning “Suffering”

August 9, 2009

It is important that we realize that we are to bear problems, not provoke them. Surely, any of us could be in unnecessary trouble if we did not use great wisdom. Many who supposedly “suffer for Christ” are simply reaping the fruit of their foolishness. We are not to have a “let’s go get into trouble” attitude. The goal is not to get into trouble, but to bear it patiently when it does come.

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without (Colossians 4:5).

If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18).

Sometimes our suffering also is a result of our own sin. If our lives dishonor God they will lead to the reaping of their own fruit.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7).

We cannot live reckless lives and expect our sufferings to be “for Christ.” We must remember that if troubles come to us in direct result of our own unconcern or sin, we will not receive reward for bearing that suffering; it is, in itself, its own reward for our previous decisions and actions. This sowing and reaping must not be viewed as the direct hand of God upon us, but rather the result of His natural laws of “sowing and reaping.” If we sin, God doesn’t need to “catch up with us” and “get us;” our own sin will do that.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 2009 Bible Student’s Press

God Who Spares Not His Own Sons

August 9, 2009

There is a method that the Father uses with His sons. It can be seen in His dealings with the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

He that spared not His Own Son, but delivered Him up for us all (Romans 8:32).

The Father did not spare His Son.

He did not spare Him the normal processes of life. He did not spare Him the long, quiet, hidden life of preparation. He did not spare Him the process of growth.

And the Child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him (Luke 2:40).

He did not spare Him the religious antagonism of being His Son; the shame, ridicule, misunderstanding and mockery. He did not spare His own Son the denial, betrayal, disloyalty and forsaking of his closest companions.

By all of this the Father perfected His Son.

For it became Him, for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings (Hebrews 2:10).

Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation … (Hebrews 5:8-9).

So here is the principle: God does not spare His sons; He did not spare Joseph, He did not spare Job, He did not spare Daniel, He did not spare David.

He did not spare Paul. He was up front with him in this respect. Ananias told him “how great things he must suffer” (Acts 9:16).

God will not spare us either, for we, too, are His sons.

For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him Who has subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body (Romans 8:19-23).

The world around us does not know our true identity. They do not know who we really are: the sons of God. This has been hidden from them. God does not spare us the normal details of life; but we do not do so alone, we endure them with a Father – the Father – and with the divine life of His Son living through us.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 2009 Bible Student’s Press

Present Benefits of Suffering

August 9, 2009

During our studies we haven spoken of the future benefit of suffering. The believer’s suffering also has current benefits. We will consider a few of them.

Sufferings Drive Us to Christ

When we have difficult trials, where else is there to turn, for He truly knows and understands. He is “acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3) and “… touched with the feelings of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15). He entered our darkness so that He could touch us there, and then led us to His bountiful “Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

If we did not trust in Him, how else could we bear our difficulties? Whose love comforts the careworn and binds up the broken hearted like our Savior, and His Father?

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ (II Corinthians 1:3-5).

Sufferings Enable Us to Demonstrate the Grace of God

Earthly sorrows produce in us God-like virtue (i.e., godliness), enabling us to show forth Christ to the world. Many times the world will listen to the voice of affliction after it has turned a deaf ear to impersonal sermons. How many unconcerned hearts have been touched by the sight of Christ-like endurance?

You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: forasmuch as you are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God (II Corinthians 3:2-5).

Sufferings Enable Us to Have Compassion

We can have real compassion toward those to whom we minister only when we are able to identify with them. This is real ministry!

Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God (II Corinthians 1:4).

Sufferings Reveal to Us Our Weakness

There is nothing that will bring us “to ourselves” quite like suffering. They truly have immense value in this regard. We will soon find, in the midst of personal problems, how weak we really are. We are brought to the place where God can use us when we are humbled. The principle has always been clear: without being made humble, no one will ever be exalted.

… Every one that exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted (Luke 18:14).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 2009 Bible Student’s Notebook

Abundant Opportunities for Glory

August 6, 2009

Those of us who must endure special sufferings related to our divinely appointed vocation have abundant opportunities for celestial glory. In this installment we will catalog some of the areas of these enormous opportunities.

The Desire to Live Godly

Yea, and all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (II Timothy 3:12).

The Receiving of the Word of God

And you became followers of us, and the Lord, having received the Word in much affliction … (I Thessalonians 1:6).

Compare this to what Jesus prayed concerning the Twelve Apostles:

I have given them Your Word: and the world has hated them … (John 17:14).

The Bearing of Others’ Burdens

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).

We may take additional suffering upon ourselves when we not only bear our own burdens (Galatians 6:5), but also those of our fellow comrades.

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves (Romans 15:1).

Heralding the Good News – Paul’s Evangel.

Be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God (II Timothy 1:8).

And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased (Galatians 5:11).

… My gospel: wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds (II Timothy 2:8-9).

But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as you know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention (I Thessalonians 2:2).

For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach (I Timothy 4:10).

Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory (II Timothy 2:10)

All of these areas are above and beyond that which is “common to man.” We have great and abundant opportunities before us to step up our celestial investment.

… If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:17-18).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 2009, Bible Student’s Press

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